Tami Richards, December 3, 2011 (view all comments by Tami Richards)
Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint when the indigo first began running off the pages of a book and squeezing my heart with inky fingers. Reading WILD SWANS, by Jung Chang is just such an instance. It is at once a memoir and a colorful, first-hand history of twentieth-centuryChina. The "Wild Swans" are Jung Chang's grandmother, mother and herself as the story of the Chinese cultural revolution unfolds in chronological order. The grandmother was born in a time when foot binding was practiced, Jungs Chang's mother was a member of the Communist forces, and Jung was born during a time of casting off of imperialistic modes as well as suffering greatly at the hands of rumor and accusation by all acounts of a violent cultural upheaval.
The scenery, characters, and emotion of this story are portrayed with dignity and strength by Jung Chang as doubts of her devotion to Chairman Mao begin to creep in. The hardships that the citizens of China suffered during Mao's purging of enemies, who's faces changed like the wind, are portrayed with passion and thought.
This is the book I recommend to all who tout the benefits of Communism, be it by labeling "class enemies," or touting a State that sees to the needs of its people.
Jung Chang was born in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. She left China for Brittain in 1978, soon after earning a Ph.D in Linguistics from York University.
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